MANSFIELD — “Nunsense,” the latest production at MMAS, proves that nuns just want to have fun, and can be a bit risqué, too.
Directed by Ken Butler, “Nunsense” has been produced several times over the past 12 years as the center’s go-to fundraiser. However, Butler has had to bring in a whole new cast this time around and does so without any disappointment. The only criticism is that the space was sometimes too small for some of the choreography and antics of the cast.
Written by Dan Goggin with witty song lyrics and clever dialogue, “Nunsense” is a spoof of all things nuns. From the clicker that the Rev. Mother uses to the impromptu test and the ruler, the musical is full of reminders of Catholic school.
The first few songs in the first act, including “Nunsense is Habit-Forming” and “A Difficult Transition,” introduce us to the cast of sisters and explain the reason the sisters are putting on their fundraiser — something to do with a leper colony and some bad cooking from Sister Julia, Child of God.
As Rev. Mother, Carol Varden is stern when reprimanding Sister Robert Anne (Irina Gott) for wanting to steal the show, but also demonstrates some talent and a penchant for the risqué during “Turn up the Spotlight.”
Varden also proves to be quite humorous at the end of the first act when Rev. Mother opens a package left in the theater’s “green room.”
Gott does indeed steal the show with her comical timing and pranks, though she shows a more serious side with her poignant performance of “Growing up Catholic” and her singing talent during “I Just Want to be a Star.”
Jill Holland (Sister Leo) was just 3 years old when her mom and aunts performed “Clean out the Freezer” with MMAS during one of the early year productions.
As the youngest nun, Holland has one of the strongest voices in the cast and does extremely well with her solo “Benedicite” in the first act. Also, her “Dying Nun Ballet” with Gott is very funny and pays homage to Sally Field’s “Flying Nun.” She and the others also do quite well with the well-choreographed hand jive during the “Freezer” number.
Kellie McGrath demonstrates strong vocals as Sister Hubert, Mistress of Novices, and shines in the second act with the cast during the Gospel rendition of “Holier than Thou.”
Rounding out the cast of nuns is Andrea Segal as Sister Mary Amnesia. She appropriately has a dewey-eyed naiveté as the nun with amnesia. Segal reveals a wide vocal range — from operatic with her singing puppet during “So You Want to Be a Nun,” to a little bit country in the second act with “I Could’ve Gone to Nashville.” Segal, Gott and Holland also sing well in harmony in “The Drive Inn,” channeling the Andrew Sisters.
“Nunsense” is hilarious no matter how many times you see the show and this cast delivers the hilarity with aplomb.
MMAS’s production of “Nunsense” runs through Sunday at the Black Box Theater, 377 North Main St., downtown Mansfield. Performances are at 8 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. (www.mmas.org, 508-339-2822)